Genealogy of the Percy, Williams & Ward Families
Please email corrections to Mike Clark
The Ward, Williams and Percy families are a long line of very well-known, 19th century London engravers and painters who descend from James Ward, senior and his wife Rachel Goldsmith,the earliest ancestors for whom we know more than just a name and a date. Although neither James nor Rachel can be described as artists, the engravings and paintings of their descendants are much sought after in the art world, and command high prices at some of most prestigious auction houses of today.
James Ward, Senior (d. c.1796) was probably born sometime in the 1730s in the City of London, which refers to that part of the medieval city that was once enclosed by the now demolished London Wall. He gained employment as a young man with the 'Cider and Fruit Merchants', a firm located near Thames Street on the north bank of the Thames River. His son James remembered him as being good with his hands, and quite industrious in his early years, such that he rose to the position of a foreman with his company, and he might have been destined for greater things, had he not turned to drink. He was ultimately let go by the firm, and never regained meaningful employment. Indeed, had it not been for the successes and subsequent support of his children, he would lived out his remaining years in poverty. As it was, his son James remembered his father as sitting in his later years by the fireplace in a drunken stupor, smoking a long pipe with a jug a ale at his side, as shown here in a sketch by the younger James.
James Ward, Senior married a pious woman named Rachel (Rachael) Goldsmith on Feb. 21, 1762 at the St. Leonard Shoreditch Church in the Hackney borough of London. Rachel, was the daughter of a tin and copper plate worker named John Goldsmith and his wife Ann. She was born on Aug. 21, 1737 in London, and baptized at the St. Giles Cripplegate Church the next day. An older sister named Ann, who was baptized Aug. 29, 1729 at the St. Botolph without Aldersgate Church, later married James Ward's older brother Thomas. Another sister named Mary Goldsmith, who was baptized Jan. 30, 1731 at St. Botolphs, married a copper-plate printer named Daniel Gent (c.1732-1782) on July 25, 1755 at St. Giles, Camberwell Church in the Southwark borough of London. This Daniel Gent, who is referred to by James Junior as 'Uncle Gent', had a shop on George Street in central London and is said to have invented a color printing process. However, of more importance, he probably had connections in the engraving business that helped his nephews gain apprenticeships in that trade.
Although nothing is known of the parents of James Ward Senior, he had at least two older brothers. 'Uncle Thomas', of whom we have already mentioned, lived near James' household and is said to have been a pious member of a local church. Thomas married twice, first to a woman of whom we know nothing, then after her death he married his sister-in-law Ann Goldsmith on June 23, 1771 at same church where James and Rachel Ward wed. In fact, Rachel was a witness at her sister's wedding. Uncle Thomas died in the late 1770s, perhaps very early 1780s, leaving behind a young son from his second marriage. Another brother named William apparently was religious also, and may have had a daughter named Mary Ann, nicknamed Emma, who became the first wife of James Ward, Junior.
The elder James Ward died sometime after the 1795 marriage of his son James. Rachel Ward survived her husband by many years and was in her 90s when she died. She was still alive in 1827, as her son James married his second wife Charlotte Fritche that year, and there is a painting by him titled 'The Family Compact' showing Rachel sitting with her new daughter-in-law. There is also a portrait of Rachel Ward (shown here) by James that was exhibited at the Royal Academy of Art in 1830, but it may have been painted earlier.
James and Rachel Ward had at least six children. Biographer Julia Frankau says there were eight, but identifies only five.
- children - WARD
- William Ward (c.1762-1826) was christened on Feb. 21, 1762 at St. John Zachary Church in London, seven months after the marriage of his parents. He was apprenticed around 1775 to the celebrated engraver John Raphael Smith, probably through business connections of William's Uncle Gent. He became one of the premier mezzotint engravers of London, and through his business became friendly with George Morland the painter, and with Morland's sister Maria. William ultimately married Maria Morland on Sept. 22, 1786 in a dual wedding where his sister Ann also married Maria's brother George. Also, William engraved some 69 of George Morland's paintings, as well as numerous portraits by Sir Joshua Reynolds, and a few historical pictures. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1795 and was later appointed mezzotint engraver to the Prince Regent, and the Duke of York. In 1814 he was elected an associate in the Royal Academy of Art. He died suddenly in London on December 21, 1826. Of his marriage with Maria Morland were born two sons, William James Ward (c.1800-1840) and Martin Theodore Ward (1799-1874), both of whom became artists, and died in unfortunate circumstances. A portrait of William Ward by his brother-in-law George Morland is shown here.
- Mary Ward (1764-1832), who follows:
- Ann Ward (1767-1804) was born March 24, 1767 and christened on April 12th of the same year at St. James Garlickhithe Church in London. She married the celebrated painter George Morland, a friend and business acquantaince of her brother William, in a dual ceremony with William and his bride Maria Morland on Sept. 22, 1786 at St. Pauls Church in Hammersmith, London. Her husband was given to legendary excess and died of 'brain fever' on Oct. 29, 1804 in London. Ann died in a convulsive fit of grief three days later, and she and her husband were interred together in the St. James Chapel on Piccadilly Street in central London (Westminster). They had no children.
- James Ward (1769-1859) was born Oct. 23, 1769 on Thames Street in the City of London, and christened Nov. 12 of the same year at All Hallows the Great Church in the City of London. He spent his childhood in poverty working in the Thames Street cider cellars and as a dish washer at Three Cranes Wharf, but his fortunes changed when was apprenticed at about the age of 15 first to the mezzotint engraver John Raphael Smith, then to his brother William Ward, who had been Smith's former apprentice. Rapidly gaining a reputation as one of London's finest engravers, Ward was appointed engraver to the Prince of Wales on Jan. 1, 1794. He married Mary Ann (Emma) Ward on Dec. 4, 1794 at St. Marylebone Church in Westminster, London. Although Frankau (1904, p. 25) says that Emma was the daughter of his Uncle William, Grundy (1909, p. xxii) says she was unrelated. His sister Sarah and Sarah's husband Henry Chalon were witnesses at the wedding.
Despite his enviable reputation as an engraver, Ward aspired to be a painter. Although his brother-in-law George Morland formally refused Ward's request to serve as his mentor, Morland nonetheless probaby served as Ward's main, if unwilling, inspiration, and Ward was able to successfully reinvent himself in the new medium. Although equally adept at portraits and landscapes, he made his mark primarily as an animal painter, and he was elected a member to the prestigious Royal Academy of Art in 1811, four years after the Academy had granted him associate status. His first wife died in 1819, and she is probably to be identified with a Mary Ann Ward who was buried at the age of 50 on Sept. 3, 1819 at the same St. Marylebone Church where she had been wed. He married his second wife Charlotte Fritch, who may have been his cousin, on Oct. 27, 1827 in Derbyshire. Their marriage record in the parish church gives his profession as 'Royal Academian'. His career declined in his later years, yet the Royal Academy saw fit to grant him an annual pension of £100, which saw him through until his death on Nov. 16, 1859, having just reached his 90th birthday. He and Mary Ann (Emma) Ward had five children, three of whom survived, and one of whom, George Raphael Ward (1797-1852), followed his father as an engraver and painter.
- Sarah Ward (b. c.1773) was christened on Nov. 7, 1773 at the St. Martin-Vintry Church in the City of London. Although it was probably James who introduced her to the painter Henry Bernard Chalon (1770-1849), whom she married on Aug. 1, 1794 at St. Marylebone Church in Westminster, London, her husband and James later became estranged. The contempt that James Ward developed for Henry Chalon became so great that after Chalon died, James attempted to influence Chalon's biographer to portray his subject in an unflattering manner. Sarah and Henry Chalon had one child, Maria A. Chalon (1800-1867), who became a miniature painter and married Henry Moseley.
- Charlotte Ward, who biographer Cecil Grundy (1909, p. xxi-xxii) writes served as her brother James' housekeeper in 1794 when he was living at Paddington. One wonders if she is the same Charlotte Ward who married Charles Leslie on Sept. 18, 1805 at St. George the Martyr Church in Southwark, London?
Mary Ward (1764-1832), the daughter of James Ward and Rachel Goldsmith, was born on Feb. 1, 1764 in London, and christened Feb. 17 at the St. Michael Paternoster Church. She is said to have been very beautiful, but had a sharp tongue, and was given to wild ways. She was not liked by her younger brother James. She ran away with an engraver named Edward Williams, who was a drinking companion of her brother-in-law George Morland, and she had at least two children with Edward out of wedlock before she married him on Feb. 7, 1788 at the St. Pancras Old Church in the Camden borough of London, with her father as a witness to the wedding. Sometime afterward, she left Williams for another man, probably William Sandbach, whom she subsequently married on Nov. 11, 1802 at St. Mary's Church in the Islington borough of London. There is an engraving of her by her brother William Ward titled the 'The Musing Charmer' (shown at right). Another engraving by Mary's husband Edward Williams titled 'The Lovely Brunette' (lower left), which is after a drawing by William Ward, is probably of the same woman. She died at the age of 68 in London, and was buried on Sept. 14, 1832 under the name of Mary Sandbach at Saint James Church on Piccadilly Street in central London (Westminster).
Edward Williams (c.1755-1797?) the engraver is said to have known William Hogarth (1697-1764), which indicates that Williams was probably several years older than his wife Mary, who would have been born the same year Hogarth died. Although we do not know the evidence, circa 1755 is given for his birthdate in some sources. This would make him about 9 years old when Hogarth died, and 9 being the age when many English apprenticeships began, this opens the possibility that Williams briefly studied under Hogarth. Given that Edward Williams was close friends in his adult life with Thomas Rowlandson, born in in 1756, and Williams' brother-in-law George Morland, born in 1763, the approximate 1755 birth year for Williams seems reasonable.
Edward Williams is generally descibed as a "fair engraver", and he is remembered for several prints after Rowlandson, most notably 'A College Scene', and another titled 'Polygamy', which is in the Royal Collection of the Queen of England. There is also an engraving by Williams of a drawing by Rowlandson's friend Henry Wigstead titled the 'The Country Vicar's Fireside', and another after John Hamilton Mortimer titled 'The Coke and Perkin' in a set of prints of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales that is in the collection of the British Museum. These engravings were all published from 1785 to 1787 by either John Raphael Smith or Thomas Prattent - Smith being the engraver who had apprenticed Edward William's brothers-in-law, James and William Ward.
Given the reputations of Edward Williams' friends - Rowlandson and Morland - we can surmise that Williams was a bit of a carouser. In fact, John Hassel tells a story in his 1806 biography on George Morland about a drinking adventure that Williams shared with Morland. Williams most likely died in 1797 or earlier, as Henry Morland, the father of George, died that same year, and he is said before his death to have asked Mary Ward's brother James the circumstances of Edward Williams' demise. The British Museum website gives Williams' death date as 1820, but this seems unlikely in light of Henry Morland's aforementioned enguiry.
Edward Willams and Mary Ward had at least two children, who are listed below.
- children - WILLIAMS
- Edward Williams (1782-1855) who follows:
- Sophia Williams, who was probably the younger child, but this is not known for sure. She married Charles Hildebrant at the Saint Pancras Old Church in the Camden borough of London on May 23, 1803, where her brother Edward was a witness. Edward later married Charles' sister Ann in the same church. Sophia and Charles had at least five children, of whom William Charles Hildebrant was baptized on the same day and in the same church as Sophia's nephew George Augustus Williams.
Sophia Williams may be the same woman as a Sophia Williams who was born March 16, 1784 to parents Edward and Mary Williams, and baptized at Saint Anne Soho in Westminster on April 11. If so, then there is a third child named John, who was born to parents Edward and Mary Williams on March 13, 1781, and baptized at the same church on April 6. However, this is speculation, and the similar names are probably a coincidence, as Sophia's brother Edward Williams was not baptized at St. Anne Soho, but at St. Mary Lambeth.
Edward Williams (1781-1855), the son of Edward Williams the engraver and Mary Ward, was born in London, and baptized Oct. 13, 1781 at the St. Mary Church in the Lambeth parish. Sometime around 1792 or 1793, probably about the time his mother left his father for another man, the younger Edward was sent to live with his maternal uncle, James Ward the painter. The fact that Ward scarcely mentions Edward in his writings, suggests that little if any art instruction was given, yet Edward must have certainly been influenced by his brief association with Ward. Another famous uncle, who likewise gave no instruction, was the notorious painter George Morland, a child prodigy whose excesses were as legendary as his skill with the brush. After a short residence with Ward, Edward was apprenticed to a carver and gilder named Hillier, who was not in any of the trade guilds but nontheless had a shop on Silver Street, Golden Square, London. Thus Edward probably began his career carving and gilding picture frames, but he is said to have also painted miniatures to supplement his income.
Edward married Ann Hildebrant, the daughter of Frederick and Sarah Hildebrant, on Feb. 12, 1806 at St. Pancras Church in London. Ann had been baptized July 14, 1780 at the St. Mary Church in the Whitechapel Parish of the Stepney Borough of London, and she had at least three siblings - Celina Mary, Charles Edward and William Charles, all of whom were christened in 1813 at the same church as Ann. Her brother Charles married Sophia Williams, the sister of Ann's husband to be. Her father, who was named Charles also, was a carver, the same occupation that Ann's husband Edward had apprenticed in, and Charles and Edward probably devoted at least some of their time, if not most of it, to carving picture frames, which would have put them in contact with painters.
Although trained as a carver and gilder, Edward Williams was surrounded by relatives who were well-known painters and engravers, and as the years went by he reinvented himself as a painter. He started by copying Dutch Baroque landscapes from the 1600s, in the style Ruisdael and Hobbema, then moved on to comtemporary landscapes that, not surprizingly, hint of his uncle George Morland. Ultimately, he became known for moonlight scenes, and, as he got older, for river scenes along the Thames. However, he is best known for being the father of six sons, all of whom became artists. As their fame grew, and with it their pocket books, the family moved in 1846 from Cromer Street, London to a house at 32 Castelnau Villas in Barnes, Surrey. This house, which still existed as late as 1972 as 92 Castelnau, had a large coach house that became the family studio. However, it would appear that by forty years later it had either been rebuilt or replaced by a block of similar looking, newer structures. The many landscapes coming out of this Castelnau Villa studio, similar in style and themes, gave rise to the attribution of the 'Williams School of Painters', or simply the 'Barnes School'.
Edward Williams, who became known in his later years as "Old Williams" to distinguish himself from his son Edward Charles Williams, spent his final years with Ann at the Castelnau Villas. Ann died there and was buried on Sept. 24, 1851 at the Barnes Parish Church. Old Williams is said to have never quite overcome the grief from her passing, and he died just four years later on June 24, 1855 at the age of 74 at the same house. He is buried, presumably with Ann in the same grave, in the Old Barnes Cemetery, where we are told that in 1970 the inscription on his tombstone could still be read. However, the cemetery has been left in neglect by the city and is now quite overgrown, which makes it likely that his tombstone, if still standing, is overgrown by bushes and vines.
- children - WILLIAMS
- Edward Charles Williams (1807-1881) was born in London on July 10, 1807, and baptized Sept. 13, 1807 at St. Mary Church in the St. Marylebone parish of Westminster. His father taught him to paint, which is evident from the similarity of their works, both painting woodland scenes reminiscent of early Dutch landscape artists. Edward Charles lived in and around London most of his life, and many of his paintings feature the surrounding countrysides of Kent, Surrey, Sussex, and Essex. As neither father nor son consistently signed their works, it can be very difficult to ascertain which one painted a given canvas. Edward married his first wife Mary Ann Challenger on Dec. 11, 1839 at the St. Marylebone Church in Westminster with both his parents as wintnesses. Mary Ann died in London in 1857, and his only child Alice Amelia Williams was born the following year to Sarah Susannah Horley, who had been Mary Ann's nurse – the two did not marry officially for another 10 years until Oct. 3, 1868, when they wed at the St. Pancras Old Church in Camden, London. Though unwed at the time, they had listed Sarah Susannah's surname as Williams four years earliler, when they baptized their daughter Alice on May 11, 1862 at St. John the Evangelist Church in Lambeth, London. Interestingly, Edward gave his profession on the baptism certificate as a carver and gilder, not as an artist, the former being the trade that his father had started in as an apprentice 70 years before. Edward Charles died "in respectable poverty" on July 25, 1881 in Shepherds Bush, London.
- Henry John Boddington (born Williams) (1811-1865) was born in London on Oct. 14, 1811 and baptized Aug. 17, 1813 at St. Mary Church in the St. Marylebone parish of Westminster, at the same time as his brother George. Although his father and older brother trained him as an artist, he soon developed his own style, characterized by country scenes with sunlight filtering through trees onto animals or people in a warm glade, or shadowed country lane. He married Clarissa "Clara" Eliza Boddington (b. c.1813) on Nov. 28, 1833 in the St. Pancras Church in Camden, London, and adopted her maiden name to distinguish his art from that of his family. He became very popular and was invited in 1842, at the age of only 31 to join the prestigious Society of British Artists, which twenty years later became the Royal Society of British Artists. His only son Edwin Henry Boddington was born on October 14, 1836 when Henry and Clara were living in the Islington District of London. Later, they lived at Gray's Inn Road (1839-1846), Fulham (1846-1849), and Hammersmith (1849-1854), before moving to an expensive house on Lonsdale Road, Barnes, where Henry lived out his remaining years. A progressive ailment, probably a brain tumor, robbed him of his sight and abilities in the final two years of his life, and he died on April 11, 1865 in Barnes at the age of 54. He was buried in the Old Barnes Cemetery, next to his father's grave, under his given name of Williams. Clara adopted his name after his death and died Clarissa Eliza Boddington-Williams in March, 1905 in Islington, London, forty years after the passing of her husband.
- Edwin Henry Boddington (b. 1836), the only child of Henry and Clara Boddington, was born in Islington, London on Oct. 14, 1836 under the family name of Williams, but he later went by the name of Boddington. It has been suggested by some art critics that his primary motivation in doing so was to capitalize on his father's fame as a painter, but to be fair we do not know the real reason. Edwin married Helena Frances Smith on Jan. 29, 1856 and eventually settled in Silsoe, Bedfordshire, where his children - Ada Clara, Henry (b. 1864), Isabel Blanche (1865-1936) and Percy Reginald (1866-1948) - were born. His sons Henry and Percy later emigrated to Australia, where Percy has descendants living today. William Fraser, who maintains an online genealogy of the family which is listed in the references below, is married to one of Percy's descendants. Several online auction houses place Edwin Boddington's death in 1905 in London, but it is also possible that he emigrated to Australia to join his sons, and died there.
- George Augustus Williams (1814-1901) was born May 4, 1814 in London, and baptized Aug. 17, 1814 at St. Mary Church in the St. Marylebone parish of Westminster in central London, together with his cousin William Charles Hildebrant. He inherited his artistic talent, as did his brothers, from his father. However, his work is distinct from that of the other members of his family, and is characterized by moonlight and twilight winter scenes of villages and stables, often with horses and a light dusting of snow. His paintings were mainly exhibited at the Suffolk Street Gallery, but he also exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1841 onwards, and at the British Institution and elsewhere.
George married Caroline Smith (b. 1814), the daughter of Abraham and Charlotte Smith, on Feb. 19, 1835 at St. Pancras Church in Camden, London in a double wedding with Caroline's sister Charlotte Matilda Smith (1810-1889) to Edward Joseph Brett (1815-1879). George and Caroline lived at first in central London, before moving about 1846 to Castelenau Villas in Barnes, then on the outskirts of the city near the Thames River. Caroline, who had been baptized on Dec. 23, 1814 at St. Andrew Holborn, died probably sometime prior to the 1861 U.K. Census, afterwhich George and Caroline's daughter, who was also named Caroline, became George's housekeeper. The younger Caroline, who was joined prior to 1881 by her niece Maud Marian Williams, stayed with her father in Barnes for the next forty or so years, leaving only after his death. George died on May 26, 1901 at the Castelnau Villas at house number 177, and is buried in the Old Barnes Cemetery in the grave of his father. George and Caroline Williams are said to have had four sons and a daughter.
- George Walter Williams (1834-1906) was born Nov. 29, 1834 in London, and baptized with his sister Caroline and his brother Frances on June 26, 1837 at the St. Pancras Church in Camden, London. He was a painter like his father, and he married another painter Jane Pearcy (d. 1872), with whom he had two children - Florence (b. c.1859) and Cyril (b. c.1864) - both of whom became painters also. He remarried two more times, after the deaths of each of his other wives, and died alone in poverty on April 14, 1906 in Richmond, Surrey. Some sources attribute to him a twin brother named George. However, as his baptismal record proves, George and Walter are the same person. He is sometimes confused with a different painter named Walter Heath Williams, to whom he is not related.
- Caroline Fanny Williams (1836-1921) was born December 25, 1836 in St Marylebone, London, and baptized with her brothers on June 26, 1837 at St. Pancras Church in Camden, London. She was a painter, like her father. After her mother died, she became her father's housekeeper, and sometime in the 1870s she adopted Maud Marion Williams, the orphaned daughter of one of her brothers. She is said to have been devoted to Maud and the two of them remained with her father until after his death. She died December 30, 1921 at Forest Hill, London.
- Francis Augustus Williams (b. 1837) was born May 26, 1837 in London, and baptized with his siblings on June 26, 1837 at St. Pancras Church in Camden, London. Although nothing further is known of him for sure, he might be the Francis Augustus Williams whose marriage took place in 1881 in Lambeth, London.
Frederick Charles Williams (b. c.1840) is listed as the 8-month old son of George Augustus Williams in the 1841 U.K. Census. He is probably the Frederick Charles Williams who was born during the fourth quarter of 1840 in Islington, London. He married Kate Way in 1868 at Westminster St. Margaret in London and had one daughter, Maud Marian Williams, who was raised by his spinster sister Caroline Fanny Williams. He worked as an officer at Millbank Prison, and he and Kate probably both died before the 1881 U.K. Census was taken, when their daughter appears as a member of Caroline's household.
- Maud Marian Williams (1869-1943?) was born June 1, 1869 at Ponsonby Terrace, Millbank in the combined parish of Westminster St Margaret and St. John, which is identified incorrectly as Brixton in one of the U.K. Census returns. She apparently was a cripple with a deformed foot, and when she was orphaned at an early age, she was adopted her aunt Caroline Fanny Williams. She listed her adult occupation as a dressmaker, and we always find her in the same household with Caroline. She also maintained a list of family birthdates in a small book that was available to Jan Reynolds, author of the Williams Family of Painters. Maud and Caroline moved after the 1901 death of Caroline's father to Forest Hill, in the Lewisham Borough of London, where we find them during the 1911 U.K. Census. Presumably they were still together in 1921 when Caroline died at Forest Hill. Maud is probably the Maud M. Williams who died in 1943 at the age of 74 in Wandsworth, Surrey, but his needs to be confirmed.
Albert Williams is said to be the youngest son of George Augustus Williams, but this needs to be confirmed. He probably died young, as nothing further is known of him.
- Emily Ann Williams (1816-1857) was born June 7, 1816 in London and baptized June 30, 1816 at the same St. Mary Marylebone church in Westminster where her older brothers Edward, Henry and George were baptized. She was also present as a witness when her brother Henry in 1833 married Clara Boddington. However, Emily is best known as the mother of the Victorian landscape painter Charles Leslie (1839-1886), her son by her husband of the same name. One wonders what the relationship is, if any, of Emily's husband Charles Leslie to the Charles Leslie who many years before in Southwark, London on Sept. 18, 1805 married Charlotte Ward, possibly a younger sister of Emily's uncle James Ward, RA?? Emily died on Dec. 16, 1857 at the age of 41 in the Wimbledon registration district of Surrey with her son Charles as witness. Her death certificate lists her as the widow of Charles Leslie, gentleman.
- Charles Edward John Leslie (1839-1886) was born on Nov. 27, 1839 in the Pentonville Road area of the Islington borough of London. His parents on his birth certificate are listed as Charles Leslie, gentleman, and Emily Leslie formerly Williams. He is almost certainly the 1-year old Charles Williams who is listed with Emily as a member of Edward Williams' household in the 1841 UK Census. There is in this same household a 20-year old man named Charles, who is not a son of Edward Williams, but who is most likely Emily's husband, and the father of their son. The younger Charles in 1856 and 1857 lived with, and presumably studied under, his artist uncle George Augustus Williams at 32 Castelnau Villas. As such, he must be considered a member of the 'Barnes School of Painters'. He is not to be confused with the much better known Charles Robert Leslie, RA, the father of George Dunlop Leslie, RA. The lesser known Charles Leslie exhibited from 1856 to 1862 at the Royal Academy, the British Institution, and at Suffolk Street, and he painted in a style reminiscent of Arthur Gilbert and Sidney Richard Percy. He married a woman named Esther in the late 1860s, and he may have had a son who was also named Charles, as an Arthur Gilbert style landscape (A Loch Landscape by Moonlight) exists that is signed 'Chas Leslie Snr 1875'. He died of liver disease at the age of 46 on Sept. 9, 1886 at Mitcham Road Tooting near Wandsworth, Surrey (now Greater London), and was buried on Sept. 15 in the cemetery of the Tooting Graveney parish of Wandsworth.
- Arthur Gilbert Frederick Williams (1819-1895), was born December 19, 1819 at Newington Butts Road in Stoke Newington, London. He studied painting under his father and older brothers, and became known for moonlit night scenes, and stark mountain landscapes uncluttered by trees or people. Like his brothers Henry and Sidney, he tried to distinguish himself from the other members of his family by avoiding the use of his surname, and his paintings are typically signed 'Arthur Gilbert'.
Arthur married his first wife Elizabeth Jane Williams (1820-1849), the daughter of John Williams, on January 23, 1843 at St. Martin in the Fields in London. As Arthur and Elizabeth had the same last name, one wonders if they might have been cousins. Their daughter Kate was born later that year, and the following year Arthur Gilbert was baptized as an adult on Sept. 9 at the Old St. Pancras Church, the same church where his parents had been married. He lost Elizabeth on Aug. 29, 1849 to tuberculosis, and then married his second wife Sarah Ann Godfrey six years later on June 28, 1854 at the Barnes parish church. Sarah, who had been born June 12, 1830 at the St. Andrew Holburn parish in London, was the daughter of a clerk named John Godfrey and his wife Eliza, Arthur and Sarah's son Horace was born the following year.
Arthur Gilbert lived at times in Weybridge and Hammersmith, but he spent most of his years with Sarah at Lonsdale Terrace in Barnes, close to his brothers at the Castelnau Villas. He and Sarah moved to Redhill, Surrey in 1873, and then to De Tillens in Limpsfield, Surrey, which was their home for many years. Although he is said to have had a weak constitution, which in those days often meant an early death, he still reached the age of 75 years and died on April 21, 1895 in Croydon, Surrey, near the home of his brother Alfred. Sarah does not seem to appear in the 1901 U.K. Census, which makes it possible that she is the same Sarah Williams who died at the age of 70 in 1898 in Croydon.
- Kate Elizabeth Ellen Gilbert-Williams (1843-1916), the only child of Arthur Gilbert and his first wife Elizabeth Williams, was born December 17, 1843 in London and baptized Sept. 9, 1844 at the St. Pancras parish church. She became a painter, and exhibited her works. She married a widowed schoolmaster named Humphrey Hughes (1833-1885) on Aug. 18, 1880 at Brixton St. John the Evangelist church in Lambeth, Surrey, and became a stepmother to his three children from his previous marriage to Lavinia Bird. These children, named Lavinia, Agnes and Humphrey, were all members of Kate and Humphrey's household in the 1881 U.K. Census. Humphrey senior died in 1885, afterwhich Kate did not remarry. Presumably she raised Humphrey's children as her own, but we find her living without them in the household of her father during the 1891 UK Census, and then in the household of her uncle George Augustus Williams during the 1901 census. Ten years later during the 1911 census, we find her running a boarding house on Georges Street in Sutton, Surrey. She was still in Sutton (Epsom registration district) when she died on April 15, 1916 at an address on Collingwood Road.
- Horace Walter Gilbert-Williams (1855-1928), the only child of Arthur Gilbert and his second wife Sarah Williams, was born April 6, 1855 in the Kensington district of London. Like his father and sister, he became an artist and exhibited his works. However, he did not pursue art as a career, and worked instead as a civil servant and university lecturer. He married Mary Thomas (1873-1944?) on Oct. 2, 1895 in the Fulham district of London, and had two children - Reginald Horace Gilbert-Williams (1896-1970) and Gwendolen Edith Mary Gilbert-Williams (1898-1968). He died in 1928 in the Prescot registration district of Lancashire. His wife Mary, who had been born in 1873 in Penllwyn (Aberystwith), Cardiganshire, Wales is probably the Mary G. Williams who died at the age of 71 in 1944 in Manchester, Lancashire. His daughter Gwendolen married Dudley Nisbett (1894-1955), and their grandson Patrick Nisbett (b. 1947) is the author of an online genealogy of the family that is listed in the references below.
- Sidney Richard Williams (1821-1886) who follows:
- Alfred Walter Williams (1824-1905) was born July 18, 1824 in London, one of identical twins, but his twin brother survived only a few days. Alfred followed his older brothers as a painter, and his work was first accepted by the Royal Academy in 1843, after which he regularly exhibited there until 1890, as well as with the Society of British Artists. He was close to his brother Sidney Richard Percy, and boarded with the Percys in 1857 at their home Florence Villa, in Wimbledon. He settled around 1860 in Reigate in Surrey, and the 1861 UK census lists him as boarding with Mr. and Mrs. Fitzsimon. Then in 1870 he was at Mead Vale in Redhill, Surrey. He married his housekeeper, a widow named Ann Hutchence in 1888 at Reigate, Surrey. Ann, who was ten years his junior, had been a member of Alfred's household during the 1881 UK Census, when she had a 19-year old daughter named Ada Louisa Hutchence in the same house. Alfred and Ann moved in 1895 to 40 Croydon Road in Reigate, close to his brother Arthur Gilbert, who lived on Canterbury Road in West Croydon, but unfortunately died that same year. Alfred died on December 16, 1905 in the Croydon registration district, with his estate settled in probate to the benefit of his wife, and his nephew Horace Gilbert-Williams. His address at the time was in Heath, Surrey. Although Alfred's wife Ann had one daughter from her previous marriage, there is no evidence that Alfred and Ann had any children together.
- Charles Willliams (1824-1824) was the twin brother of Alfred. He died sortly after birth.
Sidney Richard Percy (1821-1886), the son of Edward Williams and Ann Hildebrant, was born Sidney Richard Williams in 1821 in London. Although the older Williams children were baptized, it would appear that Sidney and his brothers Arthur and Alfred probably were not. The fact that Sidney's older brother Arthur chose to be baptized as an adult in 1843 at the age of 23 would tend to support this supposition.
Sidney was taught to paint by his father and older brothers, and early on showed talent as a landscape painter. Although his early paintings were signed "Sidney Williams", he used the name "Percy" from about the age of 20 onwards to differentiate his paintings from those of his father and brothers. He began exhibiting his work in 1842 at the Royal Academy, and he exhibited as well at the British Institution, and the Society of British Artists, eventually displaying about three hundred of his works at the various British exhibitions. Most of his paintings are landscapes of North Wales, Devon, Yorkshire, the Lake District, and Skye, with cows at the edge of lakes or in the heather. He was also an avid photographer, and some of his paintings show figures based on photographs that he took of gypsies frequenting the area around Barnes Commons. Seven of these photographs reside in the permanent collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Sidney Richard Williams signed his name as Sidney Richard Percy Williams (above) on his marriage certificate when he married Emily Charlotte Fairlam on June 10, 1857 in the Barnes Parish Church. However, he also referred to himself around this time as Richard in an inscription that he wrote on the back of a glass ambrotype (a type of photograph) of himself that he gave to Emily as a gift, and which is still held by his descendants. He was known to the public though, and appears in the census records and exhibition catalogs, as Sidney Richard Percy.
His new wife Emily had been born as one of the younger children of a large family on July 5, 1835, probably in central London, to parents Richard Wilcox Fairlam (1802-1851) and Mary Ann Shepheard (1806-1872), and she was baptized Dec. 23, 1835 at Christ Church in St. Marylebone, Westminster. Her father listed his occupation at various times as a pawn broker, victualler (i.e., a vendor with a liquor license), and wine and spirit merchant, but he is remembered by the family as having been a jeweler, which was probably related to his business as a pawn broker.
Sidney's address when he married Emily Fairlam in 1857 was at 32 Castelnau Villa in Barnes, where he had lived since 1846 in a communal artists setting with his father, who died in 1855, his brothers George and Alfred, and probably a couple of nephews who served as apprentices. However, When Sidney and Emily married, they moved to Florence Villa in nearby Wimbledon, Surrey, where three of their children were soon born. The family then moved in 1863 to Buckinghamshire, where they bought a large house in Great Missenden known as Hill House. Sidney was at the peak of his popularity now, with sufficient income for his wife to indulge in her extravagant tastes, which apparently included a carriage and several servants. He made frequent visits to the hills of Scotland and Wales to paint, and he travelled in 1865, probably without his family, to Italy, Switzerland and France, where he spent part of his time with the painter William Callow, who was a friend and neighbor from Great Missenden. Unfortunately, his travels were cut short when war broke out in 1866 between Prussia and Austria, and he was forced to return to England.
Though once very much in demand, Sidney Richard Percy's paintings by the 1870s no longer brought in the high prices they once commanded, and as his income declined he and Emily had to give up Hill House in 1872 or early 1873 for more modest accommodations at Bickley Lodge in Redhill, Surrey. They then moved about 1879 or so to Woodseat in Sutton, Surrey, where Sidney spent his final years at an address at 34 Mulgrave Road. His knee was injured when he was thrown from a horse in a riding accident, and when his leg had to be amputed as a consequence, he died prematurely at his home on April 13, 1886 of complications from the operation. Though once quite wealthy, his finances at the time of his death were no longer robust, and his estate was valued at only £712 14s when it was settled in probate to the benefit of his wife. Emily auctioned off her husband's remaining paintings on Nov. 27, 1886 to supplement this inheritance, but these earnings did not last, and she had to be supported in her final years by her Quaker son-in-law Fred Reynolds. She died on Sept. 11, 1904 at her home at 109 Bear Road, Preston, which is in Steyning, Sussex.
Hill House, Great Missenden - The home of Sidney Richard Percy
from 1863 to c.1872
The children of Sidney and Emily Percy follow:
- children - PERCY
- Gordon Fairlam Percy (1858-1870), the oldest child of Sidney and Emily Percy, was born Gordon Fairlam Percy Williams in 1858 at Wimbledon, Surrey (Wandsworth registration district). He died suddenly on the south coast of England near Westhampnett, Sussex on Sept. 12, 1870 at the age of 12 when, according to his niece Sidney Dolores Percy Bunce, he was chasing his sister Amy along the beach and suddenly collapsed and died from a heart attack or stroke. His death date is known from a small gold ring that has "In memory Gordon Fairlam Percy Obt 12 Sept 1870 AET 12 " inscribed on the inside.
- Edith Maude Percy (1859-1883) was born Edith Maude Percy Williams in 1859 in Wimbledon, Surrey (Wandsworth registration district). She never married nor had children, and died from diptheria as a young woman in 1883 in Epsom, Surrey.
- Amy Dora Percy (1860-1957) was born Amy Dora Percy Williams in 1860 in Wimbledon, Surrey (Wandsworth registration district). Initially she followed in her father's footsteps as an artist and exhibited one painting at the Royal Academy. She also wrote some poetry and short novels that saw publication. She married Richard Freshfield (Fred) Reynolds (b. July 13, 1860), a Quaker, on Sept. 15, 1886 in Bedford Park, Chiswick, London. He was a well-known chemist whose firm, Reynolds and Branson of Leeds, provided medical supplies. After he died on June 1, 1907 in West Riding, West Yorkshire from complications related to a broken ankle, Amy became well known as a writer of novels under the pen name of Mrs. Fred Reynolds. Between 1890 and 1936 she published 41 books, including an Idyll of the Dawn (1898) and a Quaker Wooing (1905), both of which are autobiographical in part. She was interred briefly with her daughter in Italy towards the end of WWII, and died on June 11, 1957 at Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria, Lancashire Amy and Fred Reynolds had the three children, who are listed below.
- Richard Frederick Reynolds (1888-1918) was born Dec. 5, 1888 in Headingly, Leeds, Yorkshire. He served during WWI as a lieutenant in the 6th Reserve Regiment of the Household Calvary and was killed in action in France on Oct. 2, 1918, less than two months before the end of the war.
- Dora Eldrid Reynolds (1889-1958) was born in 1889 in Headingly, Leeds, Yorkshire. Like her mother, she painted, and she wrote at least one novel, Whispering Dust (1913), which is still available in print. She never married and died Sept. 28, 1958 on the Isle of Wight.
- Kenneth Richard Reynolds (1892-1960) was born in 1892 in Headingly, Leeds, Yorkshire and was married in 1922 to Sissie Jeanette Gray (1894-1987). He served overseas during Word war I, and interestingly was the commanding officer of Jack Bunce, who appears in another lineage on this site. He died on Jan. 19, 1960 in the Chesterfield registration district of Derbyshire.
- Elnora Jeanette (Jan) Reynolds (1925-2012), the daughter of Richard Frederick Reynolds and Sissie Gray, was born May 21, 1925 in Letchworth, Hertfordshire. She is the author of the Williams Family of Painters, which is the source of much of the information in this family history. She became a respected art historian, writing three books on Victorian landscape artists. She lived much of her life at Baswell near Bakewell in Derbyshire, and though she never married nor had children, she always shared her house with one or more of her beloved cats. She died of pneumonia on Oct. 1, 2012 at a hospital near her home in Derbyshire. Her ashes reside in the Chesterfield Crematorium.
- Herbert Sidney Percy (1863-1932), who follows:
Herbert Sidney Percy, the son of Sidney Richard Percy and Emily Charlotte Fairlam, was born Herbert Sidney Percy Williams on Feb. 18, 1863 at Hill House in Great Missenden (Amersham registration district), Buckinghamshire, where his parents had moved to just before he was born. Like his father he became a painter. He studied at the Copes School of Art in London, where he won a scholarship at the age of 18 to the Royal Academy Schools - the date of his admittance to a three-year term at the Antique School of the Royal Academy being Dec. 6, 1881 (his ivory ticket is shown below), with renewal in Dec. 1884 to a second term. He won a second prize at the Academy in 1883 for a set of drawings, then received two silver medals in 1884 from the Academy. He is also believed to have won a gold medal there, which must have been during his second term. He also exhibited in 1900 at the regular exhibition of the Academy.
Herbert Sidney Percy was a prolific painter and exhibited with the Royal Society of British Artists (eight works), the Royal Society of Painters in Oils, and other venues. His paintings surface from time to time at several of the major art auction houses in England, and many of his works hang in the homes of promient English families. He considered himself primarily a portrait and miniature painter, as those brought in the big commissions, but he was equally adept at landscapes. He also restored paintings, and illustrated books and magazines, including some written by his close friend G. K. Chesterton. In some cases, he did the engravings for these illustrations himself. A plaster sculpture by him, and a beaten copper bas relief, both of which are still held by the family, demonstrate his versatility as an artist. Both probably date to his studies at the Academy.
Herbert married Maud Anna Maria Thompson on Oct. 22, 1891 at St. Michael and All Angels Church at Bedford Park, Chiswick, London, with Maud's Uncle Arthur Steinkopff Thompson, the Vicar of Baulking, performing the ceremony. Maud, who was born on Sept. 11, 1866 in Wandsworth, Surrey, was the daughter of Theophilus Wathen Thompson (1832-1905), a wealthy London solicitor (lawyer), and Anna Maria Abbott (1833-1917), who was descended from a merchant family in the Levant (Turkey). Maud was also the older sister of the well-known Shakespearean actress and silent film star Constance Crawley. Herbert died before Maud on Oct. 8, 1932 at his home in Hammersmith, London at 29 Sycamore Gardens, which also appears as 29 Avenue Road, and Maud died in a rest home on Nov. 14, 1948 in Wirksworth (Belper Registration District), Derbyshire. Both are buried in the Hammersmith Borough Cemetery (Mortlake). The only child of Herbert and Maud is listed below.
- children - PERCY
- Sidney Dolores Percy (1892-1965), who follows.
Sidney Dolores Percy, the daughter of Herbert Sidney Percy and Maud Anna Maria Thompson, was born Aug. 19, 1892 in Chelsea, the artists quarter of London, and christened Oct. 21 at St. Michael and All Angels Church in the Bedford Park parish of Chiswick, which is the same church where her parents had married. She studied painting under her father and at the St. John's Wood School of Art in London, where she won a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Art at Burlington House on Piccadilly Street. However, this was a time when women were not encouraged to study at the Academy, and the scholarship was withdrawn when the donating institution, the name of which is not known to us, realized she was not a man.
Prior to World War I, Sidney became engaged to the South African lawyer, politican, and sportsman Oswald Pirow (1890-1959), when he was studying in England. However, he broke off their engagement when he returned to South Africa, and in 1919 he married another. Ultimately, Pirow became the Minister of Justice, and later the Minister of Defence for South Africa. He was a controversal figure at the start of World War II due to his Nazi sympathies, which effectively ended his political career. He and Sidney continued to correspond over the years, and a fascinating letter survives that he wrote to her describing meetings that he had in the late 1930s with Hitler and Mussolini.
The death of Sidney's best friend and cousin Vere Crawley in 1918, the death in 1919 of Vere's mother Constance, the marriage of Sidney's former fianceé Oswald Pirow a few months later, and the end of WWI in November of that year gave Sidney much to think about, and she decided to look for a new life in Canada. She made arrangements to employ as a nanny in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on the Canadian prairie, and sailed in 1921 to Quebec, Canada on the SS Megantic. Of her time in Winnipeg, we know nothing, but she did at one point visit her Aunt Ada and Uncle Alan Thompson in Niagara Falls, New York before traveling to Lake Louise in Alberta. There at the old Lake Louise Lodge, which has since burned down, she met Henry John (Jack) Bunce, the son of a mining agent named Robert Bunce (1858-1930) and his wife Margaret Hare (1861-1945). Sidney and Jack were subsequently married on Oct. 3, 1923 at St. Andrews Church on Richards and Georgia Streets in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Jack, like herself was English, having been born June 10, 1898 in Shepherds Bush, London.
After their marriage Sidney and Jack settled in Pasadena, California, where she contracted polio in the mid 1930s, which resulted in a 10-year hiatus in her art. Although her family moved to Madera, California in 1936, where Jack had a job as a resort manager, Sidney and daughter Rosamond spent much of the time in nursing homes in the Los Angeles area, while Jack and daughter Jacqueline were at the Madera house. Sidney and Jack then moved to Santa Cruz, on the California coast, in 1946, and then inland in 1959 to nearby Saratoga.
After her recovery in the 1940s from polio, Sidney resumed painting, and became a well-known member of the Santa Cruz Art League, and later the Los Gatos Art Association, serving as president of both. She was primarily a portrait artist, and she did her best work in pastel crayon, but she was also proficient with oils. Below is a pastel self portrait she did of herself, probably during her art studies. Her husband Jack died on Oct. 8, 1959 at daughter Jacqueline's house in Saratoga, California, and Sidney died on Dec. 22, 1965 at a hospital in San Jose, California, while living at the same house. She is buried in the Los Gatos Memorial Park Cemetery, close to Jack and daughter Rosamond. Please see the Bunce Genealogy for the children of Sidney and Jack.
Bunce, Sidney Dolores, 1948-1961, Biographies of Sidney Dolores Bunce: Family papers (handwritten-date unknown), magazine (1948) article, and newspaper (1961) article.
Frankau, Julia, 1904, William Ward A.R.A. - James Ward R.A. - Their lives and Works: MacMillan and Co., New York, 72 p. (333 p. with plates).
Fraser, William John, 2012, Family Group Sheet for Henry John Boddington: Ancestry.com.
Fussel, George E., 1974, James Ward, R.A., Animal Painter 1769-1859 and his England: Michael Joseph, London, 179 p.
Grundy, Reginald, 1909, James Ward, R.A.: His Life and Works: Otto Ltd., London, 75. p.
Knowles, Michael, More about Alfred Walter Williams (1824-1905) Information supplied by Mr. Michael Knowles OBE, an online article available at People of 1887 - The History of Redhill and Reigate Surrey.
Nisbett, Patrick T., 2007, Family Group Sheet for Edward Williams (ver. 1): Ancestry.com.
Nisbett, Patrick T., 2008, Family Group Sheet for Edward Williams (ver. 2): FamilyTreeMaker Online
Reynolds, Jan, 1975, The Williams Family of Painters: Antique Collectors Club, 331 p.
Reynolds, Jan, 1997, Landscapes with Cattle: Antique Dealer and Collectors Guide, v. 51, n. 4 (Nov.), p. 42-45.
UK Census Records, 1841-1901 and Parish Baptism, Marriage and Burial Records: online databases available on Ancestry.com, Familysearch.org and Find My Past.
Please email corrections to Mike Clark